The Cambridge Candle


Issue 2

January/February 1999


Financial Matters

By Mary Moura

Piggy Bank

Welcome to my new column in the Cambridge Candle. Through the coming months I hope to talk to you about money, banking, mortgages, credit cards and loans. I have been in the banking business for twenty-five years and I am still surprised by how many people do not understand or are frightened by banks.

First let me say one thing: banks only exist because you deposit your money there. Believe it or not, this gives you, the consumer, a lot of power. There are more individuals and small businesses out there than large corporations. Banks would not advertise on TV if they didn’t need your business.

So, how do you pick a bank? Well, how do you pick a new car? There is very little difference. When you buy a car, you are looking for something specific. It could be a reliable brand name, a flashy look, or economic value. When it comes to options, you buy what suits you: air conditioning, a sun roof, AM FM stereo or leather seats.

Banks are like auto manufacturers. They all offer the same basic product, but some have looks. For example, some banks concentrate on electronic (ATM) and telephone banking. You can’t find a local branch number in the telephone book. Other banks emphasize personal customer service. They know you by name when you walk into the branch. Each person has to decide which type of banking he or she prefers. I rarely go into a branch, my paycheck is automatically deposited, and I use the ATMs constantly. For me, the choice is made for convenience and price. For someone else, who uses mostly one branch, the personal customer service aspect is more appealing.

Of course, the options can also make a difference, and in my next column I will discuss those in a little more detail. Checking accounts may look alike, but those option prices can differ greatly!

Remember, don’t settle for the first car, or bank, you see. Shop around and get your best deal. After all, it’s your money!

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